Santa in Al-Quds brings cheer Palestinians despite occupation threats
In Palestine's Al-Quds, Christmas has begun to bring cheer to Palestinians as the occupation continues its attempts to isolate Christian Palestinians.
Seven years ago, on Christmas, Al-Quds' only Santa Clause, a Palestinian called Issa Kassissieh, transformed his 700-year-old home into a grotto.
Kassissieh created a Christmas experience in the annexed Palestinian territory where locals and visitors can enjoy the spirits of this Christian celebration at Santa's House complete with candy, mulled wine, and a chance to sit on Santa's lap.
A Palestinian Christian, Kassissieh noted, "We are dealing with many religions here in Jerusalem. We have Muslims, Christians, and Jews. I have all religions come to my house. I open my hands to everybody."
The opening of the house was blessed by two priests with prayers in Arabic and Aramaic, the ancient language of Christ.
Santa's House brings joy to everyone in Al-Quds, as 8-year-old Marwa said "I'm not a Christian, but I still love Santa Claus... We have a (Christmas) tree at home too."
"Israel" isolates Christians from Palestine and the cause
The Palestinian people, both Muslim and Christian alike, believe that the land upon which people walk, in Palestine, and Al-Quds more specifically, is sacred. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia, Atallah Hanna, has consecrated on several occasions the relationship between the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He reaffirmed the Arab identity of Al-Quds, that of both its land and people, as an integral part of the larger Arab world in the face of the settler colonial entity that is considered the primary threat in the path toward Arab liberation.
Since the 1948 Nakba of Palestine, the Haganah massacres that led to it, in addition to the establishment of the Israeli settler colonial entity, there has been an active and continuous attempt by the Israelis to alter the identity of Palestine. They sought to eliminate its Arab historic and cultural features in the hopes of putting an end to the righteous Arab Palestinian cause and thus legitimizing their settler existence, as well as the sustainability of the non-nations of Sykes-Picot. The Zionist entity, in other words, looked to install the foreverness of a fragmented Arab national identity.
In this regard, Christian Palestinians did not stand idle, nor did they ever abandon the Palestinian struggle, nor their Arab identity, neither at home nor in exile. Archbishop Hanna reaffirmed that the settler colonial entity threatened the Arab social fabric, history, and national identity, and noted that it cannot “remove Al-Quds from the Palestinian conscience, be it that of Christians or Muslims.”
He further called on Palestinian Christians everywhere “not to forget their church,” adding that Palestine “is their spiritual roots and their national roots, they belong here, and their identity is rooted in this region’s history. They must never forget their Palestinian heritage.”
Read more: No Christmas where Christ was born